Foundation 1 : Teacher Development

Building Learning Foundations is improving learning outcomes by enhancing the quality of teaching of English and Mathematics at P1 to P5 in all public and government aided primary schools.

Our Teacher development Foundation is working with over 42,000 English and Mathematics teachers in Rwanda to improve their quality of teaching English and Mathematics at Primary 1 to Primary 5. BLF provides teachers with self-directed learning skills as well as providing support and resources to enable them to participate in continuing professional development at school level.

The programme provides self- and peer- learning tool kits to all teachers of English and Mathematics of P1 to P5. The toolkits consist of printed books with supporting audio-visual materials on removable media SD cards for use on teachers’ own mobile phones for each teacher, and two smartphones for each school so that teachers can watch the instructional BLF videos and film their own classes for self-reflection and peer discussion.

The English toolkits cover classroom language, English teaching pedagogy, and general pedagogy. The Mathematics Toolkits cover early grade Mathematics subject knowledge, Mathematics teaching pedagogy, and general pedagogy.

Teachers are moving towards a more learner-centered approach to teaching, and pupils have more opportunity to engage in meaningful learning tasks in order to develop their emerging literacy and numeracy skills.

Video material support the Toolkits by providing model lessons and short clips demonstrating key best practices for Teachers to reflect on, discuss with their peers, and incorporate in their teaching practice. For English, audio helps develop Teachers’ language proficiency through material such as classroom dialogue and models of pronunciation. For Mathematics, video content is crucial in modelling the concepts introduced to teachers through the Toolkits, particularly how the use of concrete materials can support pupils’ understanding.

All teachers supported by BLF attend sector-level orientation sessions where they learn about the BLF approach to self-directed learning. They gain practice in using the smartphones and digital files, and plan school-based Community of Practice meetings. After the orientation sessions, all schools are supported by monthly visits from BLF Sector Learning Facilitators (SLFs). Within the school’s Communities of Practice the BLF field team shares good practice from other schools, helps school-based teams overcome local problems, and supports teachers to reflect on their learning and engage in other school-based CPD activities.

English and Mathematics teachers at each school are also supported with materials for, school-based Community of Practice sessions to discuss, reflect on, and share learnings based on their use of the Toolkits. In addition, BLF field staff visit all schools regularly to provide technical assistance and support School Subject Leaders (SSLs) and teachers to meet their learning goals.

The Programme also provides English and Mathematics activity books for skills practice at a ratio of one book per two pupils. Mathematics teachers receive a manual on how to make their own resources and also receive sample materials for all P1 to P5 classrooms.All schools receive a sample numeracy cabinet where all learning materials can be stored and easily available for students to manipulate.

In order to better support classroom teachers, BLF also provides tool kits and orientations to all School Subject Leaders, School-Based Mentors and Mentor Trainers. BLF Aptis tested all mentor trainers with the aim of piloting an online language enrichment course for Mentor Trainers, with the possibility of expanding this to reach all School Based Mentors in the future.